Excerpt from "Reading
An e-book included with the Reading and Language Kit by Imagic
The brain is a magical container that defies the laws of
physics - the more you pour into it, the more it grows! The
plasticity of the brain is directly related to its chronological
age and the amount of stimulation it receives. The younger
the child, the easier it is for the brain to meet the demands
placed upon it. It is said that most of our learning is done
within the first few years of life - by age three the circuitry
of the brain is almost finished.
Anything having to do with languages seems to be an inborn
ability, which includes learning to communicate in one or
more languages, whether audible, or visible (sign language),
and learning to read. It is during the early years that these
tasks are best accomplished, when learning is pure fun!
As parents, we have big dreams for our children. After good
health, our main goal is to ensure that they grow up to be
happy and successful. We have a responsibility to help our
children reach their full potential and take advantage of
built in timing when everything is learned the easy way without
the slightest effort. In so doing, our children will be given
a brilliant start in life.
Teaching your baby to read is an act of love, because, unless
you make a conscious effort to expose him to the printed
word, he will not accomplish this task by himself. The techniques
and material used to teach your baby to read are actually
quite simple. However, it is your devotion to reading him
stories and the interest you show that is of utmost importance
in helping him develop a love for reading. With reading comes
knowledge and with knowledge comes imagination.
Teaching him a second language will give him an edge in
our competitive world while helping him develop respect and
tolerance for other cultures. Your baby will easily learn
to read and learn a second language because these activities
are best acquired during the baby stage.
I have devoted a great portion of my book to giving tips
for helping you meet the physical and psychological needs
of your baby. Of all the many things you can give your baby,
your time is the most precious. Talking to and listening
to your baby will create a bond of friendship that will still
endure during the teenage years and beyond. Confidence, good
self-concept, a sense of security, a sense of fairness, a
good sense of humor, and a love for the arts are traits worth
nurturing in your child because all these will make him a
well-rounded and well-adjusted person.
I have written Reading Babies because of my belief that
every infant is endowed with an unlimited and magical learning
potential. My intention is to share with you my success story
about teaching our daughter to read while she was a baby
and the ease with which she learned a second language, so
that you too can help your child achieve his own learning
Our daughter learned to read many
words before she was able to speak. At one year old, she
could read well over one hundred words printed on large
flash cards while she was able to say only about 20 of
these words. My husband and I read to her several books
daily. Our motivation was to tell her enchanting stories.
We did not concentrate on "teaching" her
to read. Instead, we read her stories. Exposing her to words
using flash cards from the time she was born gave her the
idea that words were representations of real things, and
printed words created stories. In so doing, she developed
a true passion for reading. She had many toys but reading
stories was her favorite activity.
At one year old, I decided to find
out how much she could read by using a "guessing game" that
I devised. We were amazed when, her bottle in hand, she
walked through the 100 plus cards strewn on the floor of
the living room picking out correctly any word I asked
her. This is how we knew she could read. Besides using
large flash cards, I had also labeled things around the
house with 3x5 cards because of my conviction that babies
can learn to read by association.
We never asked her to read, and it
is only by chance that we learned that, at three years
of age, she could fluently read entire books. One night,
as usual, she carried a pile of books to bed that we had
borrowed from the library a few hours before. Since I was
sick with fever I told her I would read only one book.
After finishing the book I reminded her that, as always,
I would read her many books the next day. After her plea
did not change my mind, she picked up the next (new) book
from the top of the pile and read, out loud, the entire
book. Her attitude seemed to say "See, I
don't need you, I can do it by myself!" My fever magically
disappeared as I called my husband to witness the event.
Amazingly, as her little finger glided on the page, her reading
was fluent with the right voice inflection.
Soon after, she started taking Suzuki
violin lessons, but she did not like to practice. So I
devised a game, which I called "Treasure Hunt." I hid either a cookie
or a candy somewhere in the house. I wrote a set of instructions
on a piece of paper and handed it to her after she finished
practicing her violin. Her reward was to go on a treasure
hunt and find the "loot." This rewarding game worked
like magic - she practiced her violin with anticipation of
One night, I found out how much this
game meant to her. While she was practicing, I was preparing
our luggage to leave the next day for France to visit my
father. Since I had so much to do, I handed her a cookie
after she had finished practicing her violin and praised
her for how well she did. She burst out crying in disappointment, "Oh no, Maman,
the treasure hunt!" You can imagine how bad I felt.
I, of course, had to oblige and devise another set of instructions
and hide the cookie.
At 4 years old, while on a trip to
France to visit my father, she amazed us once again. She
was bilingual, English-French, but she only had a few French
books at home, and she read mostly books in English. I
told her that night that I would be reading the French
books we had borrowed a few days before from the library.
I had been so busy with my father that I had failed to
read these books to her. She answered that she had read
them. I said (in French) "You mean you
looked at the pictures?" She replied (as a matter of
fact, as if it was no big deal) "No, I've read them." We
gave her the books and asked her to show us. She read them
fluently! Her love of reading had motivated her to decipher
the French text all by herself, and there is no telling how
long she had been able to read in French.
Her case is not unusual. Many babies achieve the same results
given the same opportunity we gave our daughter. The idea
of teaching babies to read does not seem so far-fetched when
one considers that ALL babies learn to talk within the first
few years of life and this is far more difficult than having
to recognize some words that spring out of books in enchanting
TIMING IS CRUCIAL IN CHILD